Restaurant Workers Get The Best Tips In These Cities, Says One Study

Service sector employees endure their fair share of ups and downs, as do workers in any industry. But only restaurant servers rely on tips for the bulk of their income. This long-debated restaurant compensation structure comes with the obvious drawback of being at the whim of customers' gratuity, which can range from stingy to generous for a variety of reasons.

And in these particularly trying times, every dollar counts for servers who, despite lockdowns, mask mandates, and all other sorts of pandemic-related mitigation, have still worked to keep hungry Americans fed. At least, that goes for those who managed to keep their jobs at all. According to the National Restaurant Association, approximately "110,000 restaurants have closed ... and foodservice sales have fallen $255 billion" since the start of the lockdowns in 2020 (via Restaurant Hospitality). 

Thankfully, all is not bleak for our fellow Americans working in the restaurant industry. According to a December 2021 poll, American respondents largely planned to "tip more than they usually do because it's the holidays." But is there a U.S. location where better tips can be found year-round? 

Seattle, Austin, and Nashville customers tip the best

According to a recent study by online menu and digital marketing service Popmenu, gratuities for restaurant workers have significantly increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of 1,000 people polled, 58% reported a general increase in tipping. 56% of respondents claimed they usually tip "20% or more," while 20% of respondents said their usual gratuity is "25% or more."

Popmenu also discovered that of the 20 cities included in the survey, Seattle, Washington, Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee all tied with having 38% of all online delivery orders having tips of 20% or higher. Detroit, Michigan, Denver, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Omaha, Nebraska, and Dallas, Texas were all hot on the heels of the top three cities, each boasting tip averages over 30% or more as well. 

CEO and co-founder of Popmenu Brendan Sweeney spoke positively about this rise in tipping, noting that restaurant patrons "want to support their favorite eateries," some of which they consider "staples of their local community." Sweeney added that this rise in tips will help to keep workers afloat as discussions still continue about providing compensation to restaurant workers, many of whom were displaced by the pandemic.

While Seattle, Austin, and Nashville seem to lead the way in the custom of tipping, it's important to note that gratuity and kindness towards our hosts, delivery people, and all other service sector employees needn't be located to certain parts of our great nation.